Ben Nevis Fact Sheet – 1344m (4406 ft)

The Great Buttress of the north face. Easy scrambling routes to the summit are possible if you know where to look and have good route finding experience. Easily accessed in about two hours from the road beneath the awesome cliffs of the north face.

Ben Nevis is 4,406ft high and stands above the town of Fort William. Access to the 'Mountain Track’ route is via Glen Nevis Visitor Centre (GR 123729); the Youth Hostel (GR 126717) or Achintee Farm (GR 125730). Other departure points can be used for the north side of the mountain and it is also possible to traverse easily beneath the north face from any of the previously mentioned departures. The walking trip to the summit and back via the 'Mountain Track' route takes approximately six to eight hours depending on the speed of your party and the amount of rest stops. The annual Ben Nevis race sees times of one and a half hours for the whole trip! The last watering hole is at the Red Burn (GR147718), which is an hour or two away from the summit. The distance to the summit is approximately 6kms (3.75 miles), plus 1,300 metres of ascent (4,300 ft)

The hardest part of the trip is often in descent and this can take the same time as the ascent. Tired legs and joints if unused to hard physical exercise will rebel at this stage. A couple of ski poles (per person) are a very useful addition to the kit list. They enable the user to take weight off of the knees and hips. In ascent the poles are also very useful and provide good balance and a boost to upward momentum

Please remember that the weather on the summit can be very poor (wet; cold, snow and windy) even though it is warm and sunny in Glen Nevis. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE WEATHER - ALWAYS GO PREPARED. The going underfoot is very rough, rocky and often wet, so wear a good solid pair of boots. The following is a minimum kit list: Hill boots - Thick socks- Waterproof anorak and trousers Woolly hat and gloves - Warm fleece or woollen jumper - Thermal shirt - Warm trousers -Map (Harveys - Ben Nevis - Superwalker - 1:25000 or Ordnance Survey - Ben Nevis & Glen Coe Outdoor Leisure map - 1:25000 - Sheet 38) & Compass and the ability to use them -Large adult size poly bag emergency shelter - Food & drink (flask of hot soup/tea/coffee) - First aid kit for blisters and minor sprains - Rucsac to carry it all in! All of this equipment can be purchased in Fort William if required and there are three mountaineering shops in the town..

For folk wishing to join a guided walking ascent and for scrambles or more adventurous walking, mountaineering or climbing routes via the north face, daily guiding rates start from £200.00 for a single person. A simple (summer) walking party could consist of ten people maximum (Price depends on numbers in group), whilst the more demanding climbs may only have two people in the group (£210.00 1:2 ratio).

During the summer months from July to September you should be lucky enough to see the ruins of the old weather station and hotel, which were built and lived in for twenty-one years between 1883 - 1904. For a more detailed history of the mountain a good book is written by the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, 1986, Ken Crocket, ISBN 0-907521-16—9.

It really is worth making the effort to climb Ben Nevis and if good weather is experienced, the views can be memorable. During the winter months October to April the weather conditions can be Arctic in nature and even outside of these periods it is not unusual to find considerable quantities of snow on the mountain. So please make local enquiries about conditions before setting off..